Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall set for grudge rematch two years after controversy that shook boxing

Josh Taylor has apologised for producing a stinker of a fight when he and Jack Catterall first met but has promised a “barnstormer” for their rematch tomorrow night more than two years on.

In what was the first defence of his undisputed light-welterweight title, Taylor was knocked down by Catterall, who also landed more punches than his opponent in 11 of the 12 rounds, but a controversial split decision went the way of the champion. One publication even called it the “biggest robbery in British boxing history”.

Taylor went on to lose his next title defence to Teofimo Lopez in Madison Square Gardens, New York, by unanimous decision and, a year on, he takes on Catterall once more.

Of the pair’s first encounter, he said: “The last fight was a stinker from both of us. Jack was doing a lot of holding and spoiling, slowing down the pace, I was very pool as well. I believe the two of us can be a lot better and it will be a better fight for the fans.

“It’s going to be a barnstormer. We were first in the arena on Monday and get a bit of a surprise, it’s right on top of you, so it’s going to be a great experience and atmosphere in there. It’s been a long two years since the first fight.”

Despite the two years that have passed, Catterall remains convinced he won fight one and has pledged to take the decision out of the judges’ hands with a knock-out in Leeds tomorrow.

“I watched the first fight and I didn’t rate it that much,” he said. “I thought I beat him, and I thought I did it comfortably. I think I underperformed, maybe Josh did as well, but we’ve prepared for the best version of Josh and I think over the last two years I’ve improved as a fighter. Emotions aside, I think I am the better fighter, and I am going to show that on Saturday night.”

Taylor laughed off Catterall’s pre-fight knockout prediction, saying: “Let him think that.

“I don’t care how I win this fight, by points or stoppage, the way I have been performing in the gym, the shots I’ve been throwing and catching people with, if I catch him with these shots, it will be over and devastating for him. This is a must win.”